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Career Advice

5 Ways to Fail a Job Interview

5 Ways to Fail a Job Interview

If you’ve gone to the trouble of applying for a job and attending interview, it’d be fair to assume that you would do your best when at that interview to ‘clinch the deal’ as it were and prove that you are the best candidate and thereby be offered the job. The reality is however that many candidates do themselves no favours at all by making mistakes at interview which completely ruin their chances, regardless of how impressive their CV may appear to be. fail an interviewSome things are pretty much a given – dressing inappropriately, turning up late or using swear words are all surefire ways to fail an interview. There are other things too though which also would cause the same negative outcome. We’ve selected a few of the most common – here are 5 Ways to Fail a Job Interview.

Be unprepared
Let’s face it. At an interview you are going to be asked questions. Lots of them. You will be asked about your experience, your education, your skills amongst many other things. These questions should not come as a surprise. You should expect to be asked them and rehearse or plan your responses. Fail to do this and it will show. No employer would be impressed by someone who either cannot answer a question or who it is evident has not made any attempt to prepare. What should you prepare? Well, we’ve previously highlighted the most popular interview questions and suggested some answers. They make a good start!

Fail to Research the Company
“What do you know about us then?” is a pretty common question at interview and one that if you cannot answer, immediately puts a proverbial black mark against you. By not undertaking some research on who the company is and what they do you are displaying real signs of apathy, disinterest and disrespect. With so many resources where you can undertake research these days, there really is no excuse for not doing this. Don’t assume that this question is one of the least important questions during an interview. It could potentially cost you the job.

Telling lies
At any point of the job application process, it is important to remember that if you tell lies, you will generally be found out. You may feel that you should impress an interviewer by claiming to be the best salesperson your company has ever seen or that you manage 4 staff; however if this is not the truth, it will come out in the end. Extravagant fanciful claims of how good you are may seem a little too hard to believe. You may not be aware, but your interviewer perhaps may know immediately that you are lying. They may know other people who work where you work, they may have even worked there themselves. Consequently, fabricating things in a bid to impress will only serve to do the exact opposite.

Being negative
If you have worked somewhere and really disliked it, whether because of your colleagues, your line manager or even the work itself, an interview is not the place to reveal this. No matter how difficult that place or those former colleagues or managers may have been, you should never speak about them in a negative way to a potential future employer. It immediately sets alarm bells ringing to an interviewer. Even if you have had just cause for your dislike, keep your opinions to yourself. An interviewer will, rightly or wrongly, make an assumption that if they were to recruit you, in a matter of months or years’ time, you would be speaking in a negative manner about them to someone else. Do the professional thing and keep those thoughts close to your chest.

Lack of interest
An interviewer can tell quite quickly if a candidate appears to be genuinely interested or not. Obviously things like body language can give the game away. However, your responses to questions and responses when the interviewer is talking also can convey whether you are enthused about the role and the company or whether you really couldn’t care less.
Employers want prospective employees to be interested and enthusiastic and if you appear instead to be indifferent, nonchalant or worse still, bored, they certainly will not be interested in hiring you.

We’ve highlighted some things not to do – ways to fail a job interview. Got any other tips that you’d like to share? Do let us know via the comments section below.

Still feel that you need more interview advice? Check out Anson Reed, specialists in online interview training and 1-2-1 Interview coaching.


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